From the introduction: Work, economy and growth nowadays are fundamentally linked to technology, technological progress and the handling of our world by and through technology. If we are talking about degrowth as a passage of civilization we have to keep in mind that our (modern/Western) civilizations are technological ones: At present, we all are living in a world which is strongly formed and deeply affected by technology. Technology is dominating the global forms and ways of production. But how will production beyond post-Fordism and the industrial society look like: a return to handicraft with a new spiritual awareness or a cultivated and restrained high-tech-production by machines satisfying our basic needs? Technology nowadays can be seen as an expression par excellence of a “logic of quantitative multiplication” and a main key to the “yoke of labor”. So when talking about work and degrowth, we have to deal with technology, and moreover a shift to degrowth implies a fundamental shift in understanding, dealing, handling and developing technology.
In debates about degrowth, the dimension of technology has not been discussed very widely and deeply so far. Visions are often drawn up in black and white. Positions and values of technophiles and technophobes (proponents and opponents of technology) collide abruptly.
In my paper I want to take a closer look at the cultural conditions of technology and their interdependencies with degrowth by providing input from the perspective of the philosophy of technology and cultural theory. An understanding of what is culturally inscribed in and transported by technology opens doors for discussion and agreement and for (slowly) changing the deeply rooted attitudes towards and carried by technology, and thus may help designing technology that meets the needs of a degrowth society.
Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.